"My leadership role in the marching band has taught me many things about the power of inclusion, as well as formed me into a person of integrity. Everyone who wants to be a part of it can be, which is a blessing and a challenge at the same time. We meet people where they are in terms of ability level, social status, financial position, age, sexual orientation, etc. There are many students who are involved in marching band that feel excluded from conventional high school activities due to whatever reason, but together, we are one band. I learned to navigate communicating with people of varying need levels and being compassionate for all. Taking on this leadership role at age 17 was one of the best things to happen to me, and I emerged from my final marching band season a more well-rounded person because of it."